Fire Risk Assessment
Fire is the most destructive and costly cause of damage to buildings and other property. A fire represents probably the single most catastrophic event that any establishment is likely to experience, and in addition, carries with it risks to the safety, wellbeing and potentially, the lives of its occupants. Fire is often caused by momentary acts of carelessness or failure to take account of fairly obvious hazards.
What is fire?
Fire is a chemical reaction brought about by the combining of fuel (something to burn), oxygen and the application of sufficient heat to cause ignition. When heated, combustible materials give off flammable gases, if the temperature is high enough and a sufficient quantity of oxygen is present, ignition will occur.
Can we prevent fire?
With the best will in the world it may not always be possible to prevent fire, it is therefore essential that should the situation arise the premises has available; sufficient means for the occupants to escape; adequate equipment to be able to raise the alarm and fight the fires; staff with sufficient training and information to bring the pre-prepared emergency plan into action.
However, if the fire occurs in a room where the oxygen supply is not maintained e.g. where doors and windows are closed, the fire will die down and may go out after consuming the available oxygen supply. This is why we close doors and windows behind us whilst evacuating the premises. Fire doors should be kept closed at all times.
What is the purpose of a fire risk assessment?
A fire risk assessment sets down the standards for fire safety throughout buildings. The risk assessment is intended to be informative and assist those persons responsible to devise, implement and/or co-ordinate the most appropriate arrangements in respect of fire safety.
What should be included is detailed information for use when planning fire precautions and procedures as well as guidance on the fire risk assessment process, tests and inspections, training requirements and records, Personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEP) that should be maintained.
The basic principles set out in a fire risk assessment document should be adapted locally to ensure the highest standard of fire precautions are in place, legal obligations met and that all staff understand the role they have to perform with regard to fire safety.
Coming soon – Your legal responsibility The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005